Topsham is a small city of around 8,000 people, found in the Sagadahoc County of Maine.
The area was initially inhabited by the Pejepscot Abenaki Indians, who controlled the Androscoggin River. A plague brought by the Europeans killed all the members of the tribe in 1615-16. Sixteen years later, the area was gifted by the Plymouth Council to two gentlemen.
It changed ownership multiple times over the next 100 years and was officially named Topsham in 1717 after a man from England.
If you find yourself heading to Topsham, here are some of the top things you should do.
1. Cross the Androscoggin Swinging Bridge
While this may seem a little daunting, don’t worry – even though the bridge does swing a bit, it’s totally safe. There are plenty of splendid views along the way, particularly from the middle of the bridge.
It’s a great way to spend a warm day and to stretch your legs a bit. There is a commemorative plaque dedicated to those who built this bridge, and occasionally you might see ducks and other birds around here.
2. Wander across the Androscoggin Brunswick-Topsham Riverwalk
What a beautiful way to spend the afternoon. This trail is perfect for a relaxing walk, an energetic bike ride, a refreshing run, or a fun walk with the dog. It is used a lot by locals, so you’ll pass plenty of other people out and about during your stroll.
Along the way, you will find plenty of benches to have a break and a dog park to let your four-legged friend wander freely. The path connects to the above-mentioned swinging bridge, so you can “kill two birds with one stone”.
3. Play golf at Cripps Creek Disc Golf
Golf is not a sport just for the rich and retired. This course has 18 holes and it works with a self-pay system. The prices are really low, so absolutely anyone can experience this game for an hour or two.
It doesn’t matter if you’re an amateur or a professional player, feel free to stop by for an enjoyable day of golf. This is a good way to get some exercise in while admiring the lovely scenery.
There is no clubhouse, so make sure to bring your own equipment.
4. Watch a movie at Smitty’s Cinema
While not a large or modern cinema, this is still a great place to enjoy a movie together with family or friends. If possible, go on a Tuesday – that’s when they have the lowest prices.
The chairs are comfortable and you can purchase a wide variety of food; not just soda and nachos like in most cinemas, but decent restaurant meals and all sorts of drinks.
The only downside to this is that the lights will not be completely turned off and the waiter might distract your attention right in the middle of an interesting scene, but overall, it’s an ideal place for a fun night out.
5. Try to Escape Room 207
Escape the room activities are an exciting way to bring a family (or a work team) together. This place will encourage you to work together in order to succeed, strengthening your relationships.
Tom, the owner, is friendly and helpful and offers plenty of rooms to escape from. Some are easier, while others are quite complex, but they are all creative and a lot of fun.
Among others, you will rob a bank, survive zombies, and solve various mysteries. Your final goal is to get all the clues and escape the room.
6. Hike through the Cathance River Preserve
This hidden natural gem offers plenty of beautiful hiking trails through different ecosystems. It crosses paths with the river and also sweeps past a few nice waterfalls.
If you are lucky enough, along the way you will be able to admire ducks, deer, and other wildlife. The place is quiet, so you can really connect with mother nature.
Don’t forget to bring protection against insects, as they might bother you a lot during spring, summer or fall.
7. Wet your whistle at the Bootleggers Beverage Warehouse
If you don’t feel like going out in the evening and just want to chill in your hotel room with a good beer, then stop in at the Bootleggers Beverage Warehouse.
They have a wide variety of drinks, including both domestic and imported beer. The prices are good and sometimes they have various discounts and special offers.
It’s a popular store among locals, so if you need a drink of any kind, make sure to stop by the Bootleggers Beverage Warehouse.
8. Explore the Maine Fiberarts Visitor Center
Maine Fiberarts is a non-profit organization formed 19 years ago which includes anyone who loves to use and create fiber art (including producers, consumers, and artists).
Fiberarts can be knitting, basketry, beadwork, sewing, quilting, weaving, and many other related activities. The goal of this center is to help the artists sell their creations, as well as teach these crafts to children and host study groups and various events for the community.
There are always new exhibits and new products to check out here. Everything is beautifully displayed and the docent is friendly and informative.
9. Visit the Joshua L. Chamberlain Museum
Located in the nearby city of Brunswick, this is the home of the former governor of Maine and the president of the Bowdoin College. Inside, you can admire plenty of old photos, paintings, flags, guns, books, and other antiques.
The tour is guided by a World War II veteran, so you can be sure that he knows exactly what he is talking about; he even personally witnessed some of the things he describes.
This is an awesome place for history buffs, but still fun to visit even if you don’t have a strong interest in times gone by.
10. Have a beer at Flight Deck Brewing
This brewery was opened two years ago with the goal of offering locals and tourists a family-friendly venue to enjoy a good beer and have a great time.
The beer here is so awesome that they were named “Best in Maine” by Down East Magazine. They produce it and sell it here, but it’s also available in cans at certain retail stores and bars across the state of Maine.
As mentioned, the place is family-friendly, so you can bring your kids and even your dog.
11. Shop on Maine Street
Located in downtown Brunswick, this street has plenty of stores, cafes, and restaurants, so you can spend a lovely evening here. Take a short walk first and admire the town square, and then stop for a drink or a meal.
The buildings are old and have a rich history; Bowdoin College is also nearby. If you like antiques, make sure to visit the flea market.
12. Admire the Maine Maritime Museum
Located in the nearby city of Bath on the banks of the Kennebec River, this place offers exhibits, galleries, and various activities for all ages.
Outside, you can admire the old ships (some of them being the largest wooden ships ever made), learn about lobstering or view the sculpture of the schooner Wyoming.
You can also check out wooden ships built right on the spot (in the Boatshop) or let the kids loose to play on a pirate ship.
They also organize daily cruises, where you can admire the beautiful lighthouses of the area and tours of old homes that used to belong to shipbuilding families.
13. Enjoy a play at the Maine State Music Theatre
Located in a beautiful, historic building, this venue offers some amazing experiences for lovers of art and theatre. The actors are so talented that they attract big crowds on weekends and in the summer, so make sure to get your tickets ahead of time.
There are various plays held here for all tastes; the shows include awesome costumes, plenty of dancing and singing, an orchestra, and lots and lots of energy. Many reviewers have compared these performances with those on Broadway.
14. Splash some cash at the Freeport Shopping Outlets
Walking on this street is just like walking into a big, shiny, modern shopping mall. It has an entire mile of shopping outlets, found one after the other.
Among them, you will find brands like Ralph Lauren, Patagonia, L.L., Clinique, Nike, Totes and many more. As you can imagine, you can find absolutely anything here, for all members of the family.
Just like in a mall, you will also find plenty of places to grab a drink or a quick meal before continuing the shopping spree.